Of Magnets and Centrifuges: The US and EU Federal Systems and Private International Law
A Chapter in COMPARATIVE FEDERALISM, INSTITUTIONAL COMPLEXITY, AND POLICY CHOICE (Jae-Jae Spoon and Nils Ringe, eds., 2020 Forthcoming)
19 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2019
Date Written: December 17, 2019
This chapter is part of a tribute to Professor Alberta Sbragia upon her retirement at the University of Pittsburgh. Professor Sbragia, a political scientist, has contributed much to to the understanding of the development of the European Union and its institutions. She has been a wonderful colleague. In my tribute to her, I consider the federal systems in the United States and the European Union as viewed through the lens of private international law. While some may be hesitant to refer to the European Union as a “federal” system, when viewed in the context of private international law it becomes apparent that the EU system is both more centralized and more predictably developed than is its counterpart in the United States. I have referred to this comparison in the past as resulting in the EU magnet and the US centrifuge. In this chapter, I trace my personal experience in dealing with the development of private international law for over 25 years at the Hague Conference on Private International Law. This experience has provided the opportunity for first-hand observation of the evolution of EU competence in private international law and its effect on global developments. Using my personal experience in the process, I review the developments which have led to centralization of private international law within the European Union, consider how the federal system in each of the United States and the European Union has influenced this area of the law, and draw conclusions about how each has used its own federal approach in this area of the law to influence global development of the law.
Keywords: federalism, private international law, Hague Conference on Private International Law, European Union, recognition of judgments, international litigation, international economic law, comparative law, international law
JEL Classification: K00, K12, K33, K41
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